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From Construction To AI Diagnostics, Here Are 5 Areas Where Seed Investors Are Most Active

Seed funding - Bird with feeder.

Predicting the future — once the realm of crystal balls and tea leaves — is now a full-fledged profession. Hundreds of professional futurists now work in government, academia and other sectors, analyzing demographic, technological and climatic trends to envision what life will look like years from now.

Here at Crunchbase News, we have our own future-telling tool: Seed-funding data. By looking at today’s cohort of very young funded companies, we can piece together a sense of the technologies startup investors see most impacting our lives in future years.

So what do the seed investment tea leaves tell us? To get an idea, we scanned through more than a thousand larger seed and pre-seed financings from the past year year 1. We then identified five areas piquing substantial interest. 

Some were obvious. It wasn’t surprising, for instance, to see that generative AI has been a popular area for seed investors.

Others were more unexpected. Construction tech, for instance, has seen a lot of seed dealmaking, even as late-stage investment has declined.

Without further ado, here are five of our top trends for seed-stage.

AI-enabled healthcare

There’s a lot of funding for nascent companies at the intersection of artificial intelligence and healthcare. At seed, this is playing out in areas from diagnostics to pharmaceutical research to administrative automation.

For a sense of who’s getting funded, we used Crunchbase data to put together a sample list of 32 companies that fit this category.

AI-assisted diagnostics was one of the more popular focus areas. Investment recipients include Floy, a German startup developing AI-driven software that helps radiologists detect difficult-to-see abnormalities, and San Francisco’s Glass Health, a platform for developing differential diagnoses and clinical plans.

Others are turning to AI to better understand immune response. New York-based Jona wants to use artificial intelligence to uncover links between the microbiome and health. Scienta Lab, based in Paris, meanwhile, is working on an AI platform for precision immunology.


Spacetech companies tend to be capital-intensive to scale. But you have to start somewhere. And lately, seed investors seem pretty enthusiastic about financing the earliest stages of development.

In recent months, we’ve seen seed-stage rounds going to startups in areas ranging from asteroid mining to spacecraft operations automation to satellite design. For a broader view, we put together a list of 20 companies that last raised a round this past year.

Some of the largest financings went to image and analytics providers. This includes OurSky, a Santa Monica, California-based telescope network that provides data and analysis of objects and activities in space, and Houston’s SynMax, a satellite data analytics provider specializing in oil and gas and maritime intelligence data.

Others are focused on launching into space. Germany’s Airmo is planning to launch 12 satellites into orbit to track greenhouse gases. And Los Angeles-based Auriga Space, which recently came out of stealth, is working on an electromagnetic launch system.


Much as we may revere the beauty of nature, most of us spend virtually all our time in the so-called “built environment.” We sleep, eat, work and recreate in or around human-constructed homes, roads, parking lots and commercial buildings.

In short, we are huge consumers of the products delivered by the construction industry.  Likewise, startups would like a piece of the proceeds.

Investors would too. Over the past year, we’ve seen dozens of good-sized seed-funding rounds for construction tech startups. They’re going to companies with focus areas including hiring, permit management, and project planning.

Below, we used Crunchbase data to curate a list of 26 companies that raised seed-funding for construction-related ventures in the past year:

A few startups are working on helping builders with hard-to-fill positions. New York-based Skillit, a recruitment platform for skilled construction labor, picked up an $8.5 million seed round last summer, and Paris-based, specializing in temporary building jobs, cemented $5.4 million last spring.

Others are looking to make the administrative aspects of construction easier. San Jose, California-based Lumber offers payroll, time-tracking and project management tools for building contractors. Another Silicon Valley startup, PermitFlow, secured $5.5 million in seed funding to streamline and automate the permit preparation and submission process.

Fintech for the carbon economy

Increasingly in the global economy, emitting carbon comes with a cost. And getting rid of it carries a premium. But figuring out just how to calculate those costs and premiums is no simple feat.

Startups would like to help. In recent quarters, we’ve seen a good number of seed rounds going to companies working on tools to manage carbon credits, track and account for emissions, and finance renewable energy expenditures.

Using Crunchbase data, we put together a list of eight companies that have raised seed funding this past year for business models at the intersection of sustainability and finance.

One standout is Opna, a London-based climate financing platform that seeks to connect corporations with net-zero initiatives with carbon markets and carbon projects that seek financing. Another startup to watch is the U.K.’s Kita, which offers insurance products aimed at reducing some of the risk of carbon credit purchases.

Generative AI

Last but certainly not least on our list is generative AI.

Because artificial intelligence has been such a hot area for startup investment this past year, hundreds of companies focused on the technology have raised good-sized seed rounds. We didn’t attempt a comprehensive list, but rather cherry-picked a few dozen standout generative AI deals, featured below.

The top fundraiser was Elon Musk’s Austin, Texas-based xAI, which scooped up $135 million in December to build Grok, an AI designed to answer questions based on real-time knowledge of the world. Other big seed investment recipients include Liquid AI, a Massachusetts-based  MIT spinoff working on a new generation of AI foundation models, and Palo Alto, California’s Vectara, which is focused on advanced, AI-powered search technology.

The big picture: Consumer-facing is out

One startling similarity shared by our popular seed funding sectors is that few are developing platforms and products to market to the general public. There are a few exceptions, like Grok, which looks to be a public-facing AI. But for the most part, startups in construction, spacetech, carbon accounting and AI are targeting small business, enterprise and government customers.

Now, of course, this is partly selection bias. There are other somewhat popular areas for seed funding, such as alternative protein, gaming and personal finance, where startups are selling to consumers.

Nonetheless, we have seen the consumer products and DTC categories fall out of favor with startup investors across stages in the past couple years. Consumer electronics funding has lagged for even longer. Seed funding patterns indicate a near-term rebound is not likely in the cards.


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Illustration: Dom Guzman

  1. The dataset included only companies founded in the past four years.

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